Listen Now

The Weekly Dispatch (20 April)

By: /
20 April, 2012
By: Anouk Dey
Former deputy editor of
Taylor Owen
By: Taylor Owen

Founder and Publisher of and Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Global Affairs at UBC

We are delighted that is expanding rapidly. Our community is growing internationally, our content moving into new in-depth series and live events, and we have embarked on a series of partnerships, beginning with The Globe and Mail and Maclean’s. Last week, we launched our Weekly Dispatch, which will replace our monthly newsletter, and include notes from the editors, highlights from the site, as well as selected international affairs readings from around the web. In the inaugural Weekly Dispatch, launched the week NATO met to discuss the future of Afghanistan and Australia announced it was prematurely withdrawing its troops, the focus was… Afghanistan. Highlights include five expert takes on what Canada got wrong in Afghanistan and an excerpt from Noah Richler’s new book on Canadians and war.

This Week on OpenCanada

What went wrong in Afghanistan?
Blame Canada? Blame Karzai? Blame Pakistan? We ask Bill Graham, Margaret MacMillan, Roland Paris, Eugene Lang, and Bob Bothwell to identify the culprit behind Canada’s longest ever military commitment.

The Three Bad Decisions Made in Afghanistan
Counter-insurgency is like baseball. Steve Saideman examines the three strikes that doomed the Afghanistan mission.

What Went Wrong in Canada?
Canadian troops withdrew from Afghanistan exactly 50 years after Dwight Eisenhower gave his famous military-industrial complex speech. Anouk Dey thinks it’s more than just coincidence.

A Brief History of Canada and the International Criminal Court
On the 10th birthday of the ICC, we celebrate Canada’s involvement – and wonder why it has waned in recent years.

Rapid Response Question of the Week

Was the first decade of the ICC a more just one?
On the International Criminal Court’s 10th birthday, War Child founder Samantha Nutt, Brookings’ Bruce Jones, Concordia University’s Kyle Matthews, former ambassador Jeremy Kinsman, and author Erna Paris face off on whether the world is a more or less violent place. But are these experts even answering the right question: does justice necessarily mean less violence?

Weekly Readings from the World Wide Web

“Joseph Kony: Trouble in South Sudan,” by Alexis Okeowo for The New Yorker
Everything was supposed to be okay after the referendum. But, according to the New Yorker, all is not well in South Sudan.

“Cairo’s Candidate Shuffle,” by Jeff Martini for Foreign Affairs
Plus ça change, plus ça reste la même. A few reasons why the forthcoming Egyptian election is no different from those that came before the revolution.

“The G-20 Is Failing,” by Edwin M. Truman for Foreign Policy
Canada should be proud of being a G20 country right? Not so, according to Edwin Truman: the G20 simply isn’t what it used to be.

“War Games,” by Noah Richler for The Walrus
In an excerpt from his forthcoming What We Talk About When We Talk About War, Noah Richler argues that, today, Canadian heroes are soldiers, not peacekeepers.

“Human Capital,” by Beth Haddon for The Literary Review of Canada
This year, three Canadians have published books about their kidnapping ordeals in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Maghrib. Which ones to read, and which ones not to read.

“Pictures at a Revolution,” by Luke Allnutt for Foreign Policy
Who needs international relations theorists, when you have data visualization? An overview of how data is being used to explain revolutions.


Louise Arbour: Truth To Power
On Thursday, April 19, live streamed a dialogue between Louise Arbour, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and UBC President Stephen Toope at UBC. Don’t worry if you missed it. You can still watch the conversation online, which touched on the ICC, the War on Terror, the rights of prisoners, and Canada’s diminished position in international affairs.

April 24
Corruption, Diplomacy and International Sport: Two Game Changers
The National Capital Branch is honoured to host two outstanding warriors for sports integrity, Declan Hill, author of The Fix: Soccer and Organized Crime, and Dick Pound, former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

April 25
Inside Syria: A Conversation with Glenn V. Davidson
The Halifax Branch will be holding a roundtable discussion with Glenn V. Davidson, Canada’s ambassador to Syria between 2009 and 2012.

April 25
The Canadian Forces and OP Mobile: The Operation in Libya 2011
The Calgary Branch will be hosting Lieutenant-Colonel Normand Gagné, the Canadian Deputy Air Component Commander charged with helping enforce the No-Fly Zone as part of the mission in Libya.

To have the Weekly Dispatchdelivered directly to your mailbox every week, sign up here.

Before you click away, we’d like to ask you for a favour … 


Journalism in Canada has suffered a devastating decline over the last two decades. Dozens of newspapers and outlets have shuttered. Remaining newsrooms are smaller. Nowhere is this erosion more acute than in the coverage of foreign policy and international news. It’s expensive, and Canadians, oceans away from most international upheavals, pay the outside world comparatively little attention.

At Open Canada, we believe this must change. If anything, the pandemic has taught us we can’t afford to ignore the changing world. What’s more, we believe, most Canadians don’t want to. Many of us, after all, come from somewhere else and have connections that reach around the world.

Our mission is to build a conversation that involves everyone — not just politicians, academics and policy makers. We need your help to do so. Your support helps us find stories and pay writers to tell them. It helps us grow that conversation. It helps us encourage more Canadians to play an active role in shaping our country’s place in the world.

Become a Supporter